Kidnappers richer, boy safe, but cops clueless as ever

MUMBAI: Details have emerged of how the kidnappers of a Ghatkopar builder’s son gave the police the slip while releasing their hostage near Panvel in Navi Mumbai on Monday, about a month after picking him up. It portrays the police in a rather poor light. The kidnappers come across as either smarter than the men in khaki or as people who watch good crime drama on television—certainly better drama than what cops watch.

To apprehend them, the police had kept an electronic device in the bag containing the ransom so that they could track the criminals through GPS. The two persons who picked up the bag, after riding for about three km, removed the cash from the bag with the electronic device and discarded it. This is the reason why despite laying a self-described “elaborate trap” in the jungles of Aarey Colony, the police could not catch the culprits, who are now richer by Rs 2 crore.

The callers who coordinated with the victim’s father had asked him to keep the money under a small bridge on a nullah. “Within 10 minutes, two persons picked up the bag and vanished into the darkness. Our team could have followed or cornered them from all sides, but we did not want to take a risk. Had we caught the two, the kidnappers could have harmed the boy (aged 20). Our priority was his safety. Investigations can continue and the accused can still be caught. The victim’s life was more important,” said a senior police officer.

Another officer said the kidnapping case was very sensitive and utmost precaution was exercised. “We still regret the Oshiwara incident where the victim, Adnan Patrawala, the teenage son of a builder, was killed in 2007 after his five teen kidnappers panicked when they learnt the police were trailing them.”

On Wednesday, the crime branch recorded the statement of the 20-year-old boy at its Ghatkopar office. The police have not shared the information he has provided on grounds that the investigation may be hampered.

A crime branch officer said the case is a big challenge as the kidnappers have vanished without leaving a trace.

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